Over 30 Paizo staff members from several departments have signed a letter announcing the formation of the United Paio Workers union, in coordination with the Communication Workers of America. This effort is the first of its kind in both the tabletop RPG and board game industry.
The letter states that Paizo workers have been organizing for some time but were spurred to act by September firing of customer service and community manager Sara Marie and what they call the sudden departure of customer service representative Diego Valdez and several others in the recent past. Many former and current employees, as well as freelancers and contract workers, took the opportunity to share stories of abuse, harassment, mistreatment and hostile management.
Hi everybody. We’re 30+ members of the Paizo staff, and today we’re announcing that we have formed the United Paizo Workers, one of the first unions of its kind in the tabletop game industry. #UnionizePaizo— United Paizo Workers (@PaizoWorkers) October 14, 2021
“These events, as well as internal conversations among Paizo workers, have uncovered a pattern of inconsistent hiring practices, pay inequity across the company, allegations of verbal abuse from executives and management, and allegations of harassment ignored or covered up by those at the top,” the letter said. “These findings have further galvanized the need for clearer policies and stronger employee protections to ensure that Paizo staff can feel secure in their employment.”
The letter goes on to say Paizo’s workers are “Paizo’s workers are underpaid for their labor, required to live in one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and subjected to untenable crunch conditions on a regular basis.”
The United Paizo Workers will be asking Paizo management to voluntarily recognise their union and open good-faith negotiations for better working conditions and stronger worker protections. The letter ends with a request for the tabletop community to lend their voice to this push.
“Changes have been promised, internally and externally, by the executive team. However, the only way to ensure that all workers’ voices are heard is collective action. It is in this spirit that the workers of Paizo have united to push for real changes at the company. The UPW is committed to advocating on behalf of all staffers, and invites all eligible Paizo employees to join in the push for better, more sustainable working conditions.”
Paizo is the publisher of two popular tabletop RPGs, Pathfinder and Starfinder, and is considered second only to Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast. The company publishes several books and supplements each year and distributes them to more than 36 countries, along with maintaining a long-running living campaign through its official Pathfinder Society program.
Dicebreaker has reached out to Paizo and the United Paizo Workers for comment and will update this story as more information becomes available.